Investigation concerning Saif and his Narrations

Who is Saif?

According to Tabari, vol.l, p.1749, (Europe) and Lobabul Ansab, vol.1, p.49, Saif's full name was Saif Bin ‘Omar al-Tamimi al-Osayyadi. According to Jamharatul Ansab, p.199 and Ibn Doraid's book, al-Ishtiqaq, pp.201-206, Osayyad's name was ‘Amr Bin Tamimi. Because Saif was a descendent of ‘Amr he has contributed much more about Bani Amr's heroic deeds than others.

It is written "Osady" in Ibn Nadim's book, Fihrest, instead of Osayyad.

It is recorded in Tahzibul Tahzib, al-borjomi wal Sa‘dy or al-Zaby (ﻲﺒّﻀﻟا وا يﺪﻌﱠﺴﻟاو ﻲﻤُﺟﺮُﺒﻟا). If this were true it only reveals that the Borjom tribe and Osayyed had some agreement (peace treaty etc.) between themselves since Borjom and Osayyed were not close relatives even if we believe that both tribes were descendents of Bani Tamim.

It is recorded in Tahzibul Tahzib, Kholas atul Tahzib and Hidayatul ‘Arefin that Saif came from Kufa and resided in Baghdad.

According to Kholasatul Tahzib, Saif died in the year 170 H.L. It is written in al-Tahzib, "I have seen Dhahabi's hand writing saying that Saif died during the rule of Haroon al-Rashid."

Ismail Pasha in his book al-Hidaya, says, "He (Saif) died in Baghdad during the rule of Haroon al-Rashid in the year 200 and al-Rashid died in the year 193." No one else has said so, neither has Ismail Pasha revealed the source of his information.

Saif's Books

According to al-Fihrest and al-Hidaya, Saif wrote two books:-

1) al-Fotooh al-Kabir wal Reddah.

2) al-Jamal wa Masire ‘Aesha wa ‘Ali.

And according to al-Lobab, Tahzib and Kashful- Zonoon, Saif wrote only the book al-Fotooh.

Tabari in his book has recorded from Saif's two books, al-Fotooh and al-Jamal in the order of the names of people playing parts in the events but he has not made reference to Saif's books.

Dhahabi in his history of al-Kabir; and Ibn ‘Asaker in al-Tamhid have recorded from Saif according to the names of people playing parts in the event and they have made references to Saif's books.

The most famous historians who have written about the companions of the Prophet are Ibn Abdul Birr, Ibn Athir, Ibn Hajar and Dhahabi. These historians have recorded the names of the heroes invented by Saif along with the names of the real Sahabis (Companions of the Prophet).

Geographians such as al-Hamawi, in his Mo‘jam; and al-Hemiari in al-Rouz have named non-existent places invented by Saif. Abdul Momin has recorded Saif's places from al-Hamawi.

Last person, we found, who had said that had Saif's book in his possession is Ibn Hajar (d. 852 H.L.). The author of al-Esabah.

The value of Saif's recordings

1) Yahya Bin Ma‘een (d. 233 H.L.), "His narrations are weak and useless."

2) Nesa’i (d. 303 H.L.) in Sahih, "His narrations are weak, they should be disregarded because he was unreliable and not trustworthy."

3) Abu Dawood (d. 316 H.L.), "Of no value - he is a liar."

4) Ibn Abi Hatam (d. 327 H.L.), "They have abandoned his narrations."

5) Ibn al-Sakan (d. 353 H.L.), " I t is weak."

6) Ibn ‘Adei (d. 365 H.L.), "It is weak, some of his narrations are famous yet the majority of his narrations are disgraceful and not followed."

7) Ibn Hebban (d. 354 H.L.) "In the stories he has made, he has mentioned the names of trustful men, but they say he was accused of heresy and forged narrations."

8) Al-Hakem (d. 405 H.L.) "His narrations are abandoned, he was accused of heresy."

9) Khatib al-Baghdadi.........

10) Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (d. 463 H.L.) narrated from Abi Hayan that "Saif's narrations are abandoned, we mentioned them for knowledge only."

11) Safiod Din (d. 923 H.L.) "Considered weak."

12) Firoozabadi (d. 817 H.L.) in Tawalif mentioned, Saif with the others saying they are weak.

13) Ibn Hajar (d. 852 H.L.) after one of his narrations mentioned, that it is narrated by weak narrators, weakest of them all is Saif.

These are the biographers views about Saif and his narrations. Now let us consider the narrations themselves. And to do so we have to refer to the history of al-Tabari among others because it is dated earlier than others and more referred to in history books. al-Tabari had narrated, too many of Saif's narrations quoting from his two books, al-Fotooh wal-Radah and al-Jamal.

Also he narrated from his narrations about al-Saqifa and the death of ‘Othman. Thus making Saif stories an important reference, referred to all Islamic histories up to day.

We shall consider al-Tabari's history first and then other narrators who depended on Saif's in their narrations and we shall compare and contrast his narrations with others to find out the methods he used in forging them and the value of his stories.